Baker's Broncos blitz Roosters in NRLW decider
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone Wallabys' superstar Chelsea Baker has helped guide the Brisbane Broncos to the inaugural NRLW Premiership after kicking five goals in Brisbane's 34-12 victory against the Roosters at Sydney's ANZ Stadium yesterday.
Baker kicked five goals from six attempts as Brisbane ran in six tries to two, including a hat-trick to five-eighth Kimiora Nati, who won the Karyn Murphy Medal for best on ground.
The contest was effectively over by half-time as the Roosters trailed 28-6, but an improved second half gave the Sydney side hope until Nati sealed her hat-trick in the 45th minute and the scoreboard remained untouched until the final siren.
The Roosters opened the scoring in the fourth minute after deciding to take an easy shot at penalty goal for a 2-nil lead.
However a mistake from the restart gave Brisbane ideal field position and it capitalised with a try to Nati which was referred to the video referee.
Baker made no mistake with the conversion to hand the Broncos a 6-2 advantage.
Back-to-back penalties had the Roosters on the march and they struck back in fortuitous circumstances when a cross-field kick ended up in the hands of Tazmin Gray and she levelled the score.
The Bondi girls failed to complete a second set in a row after scoring points and Brisbane made them pay with a try to prop Heather Ballinger, which was converted by Baker for a 12-6 lead after 15 minutes.
Brisbane added a third in the 18th minute when Nati was awarded a penalty try after copping contact from the Roosters' Taleena Simon while attempting to ground a grubber kick from halfback Ali Brigginshaw.
The Broncos scored their fourth try five minutes before half-time when Ngatokotoru Arakua crashed over the line with Baker nailing another conversion.
Baker played a key role in Brisbane's fifth try as she gathered the ball 30 metres out and turned on the speed before offloading to Lavinia Gould to score in the corner for a 28-6 half-time lead.
Baker, 32, finished the NRLW season as leading points scorer with a haul of 38 points including two tries and 15 goals.
Calliope product Kody House was named on an extended bench but failed to make the final 17 after making her NRLW debut against the Warriors last weekend.
BRISBANE BRONCOS 34 (Kimiora Nati 3, Heather Ballinger, Ngatokotoru Arakua, Lavinia Gould tries; Chelsea Baker 5 goals) def. SYDNEY ROOSTERS 12 (Tazmin Gray, Lavina O'Mealey tries; Zahara Temara 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. Half-time: Brisbane 28-6.